NBC's Guthrie Tries to Blame Congress for Immigration Crisis

On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to link House Republican opposition to Democrat-backed immigration reform legislation to the current border crisis: "There's also this immigration reform bill that's been passed in the Senate, it's dead on arrival in the House....is it a situation where you think members of Congress would rather have the political issue than a potential resolution?" [Listen to the audio]

Guthrie posed that question to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who replied: "I think members of Congress don't want this issue at all during the fall campaign....The regular immigration reform, totally dead. That's not going to happen at all."

Todd went on to explain that the GOP would probably support legislative efforts to expedite the deportation of the tens of thousands currently crossing the border illegally: "The President's challenge might be greater with his own party than it will be for Republicans....I think he can get Republican support of that, but it's Democrats....Who believe that somehow they'll look not very compassionate if they somehow hurry up and send these children back."

Here is a full transcript of the July 9 segment:

7:07 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chuck Todd is NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director. Chuck, good morning to you. Let's just start where Peter left off. I mean, what is the harm in visiting the border? Is there a larger issue at play here why the White House doesn't want to make this gesture?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The President's Immigration Crisis; White House Faces Mounting Political Pressure]

CHUCK TODD: Savannah, you know this president well. You and I covered him together. They get stubborn sometimes. They don't like getting bullied into a decision. They made this decision about ten days ago that he would not go to the border. They've gotten a ton of pressure, Democrats and Republicans, and they're digging in their heels.

But their way to quote – to split the baby on this is they hastily set up this event today. Where they're going to have this immigration roundtable, this private one-on-one meeting with Rick Perry. But they were sort of forced into this.

They are acknowledging that the photo-op, I think, might be bad politics on either side of this issue, so they want to stay away. And they argue that maybe the President's presence there would somehow take away from security measures. But they clearly are a little bit concerned about the politics of it.

GUTHRIE: Speaking of the politics, on the congressional side of this, I know the ask for $3.7 billion has got something of a lukewarm reception. There's also this immigration reform bill that's been passed in the Senate, it's dead on arrival in the House. What do you make of that? I mean, is it a situation where you think members of Congress would rather have the political issue than a potential resolution?

TODD: Well, actually, I think members of Congress don't want this issue at all during the fall campaign.

Look, there are two separate issues. The regular immigration reform, totally dead. That's not going to happen at all.  

The President's challenge might be greater with his own party than it will be for Republicans. First you're going to have to change that other law, the 2008 law that doesn't allow for the quick deportation of these minors. Right? The law allows for quick deportation of Mexicans or Canadian children that cross the border, but not from non-Mexican or non-Canadian. So that is going to have to get changed.

I think he can get Republican support of that, but it's Democrats, Savannah, including major Democrats, Diane Feinstein, California, Bob Menendez from New Jersey, who don't want to see that 2008 law changed. Who believe that somehow they'll look not very compassionate if they somehow hurry up and send these children back.

GUTHRIE: Well, it's a tough issue for sure. Chuck Todd, thank you very much. Good to see you.

TODD: You got it.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.